The DOJ is now arguing the US Gov’t has the power to kill American citizens—with no due process—and they have no legal right to ask for transparency about why they are being targeted. The precedent that is being set by this case is disturbing, to say the least…
A disturbing case is playing out in a DC courtroom this week, after an American citizen filed a lawsuit claiming he was wrongfully placed on the US Government’s Kill List. But in its defense, the Department of Justice is arguing that the US has the power to kill its own citizens at any time—without due process.
This case revolves around a US citizen and journalist, who has been reporting on the ground in Syria since 2012. His name is Bilal Abdul Kareem, and he specialized in exclusive interviews with rebels in Syria. He claims he was targeted by at least five different military airstrikes in 2016. He believes he was wrongfully placed on the Presidential ‘Kill List’ and he is now suing the US Government with a Journalist for Al-Jazeera who claims he was wrongfully labeled as a member of Al-Qaeda. Kareem is arguing that while he was going to meet with different rebel groups for interviews, the US Government was tracking his phone, and they made the decision to target him as a terrorist with no due process.
The Government’s response has been to argue that there is no public proof that Kareem was being targeted by the airstrikes—noting that they were carried out in public spaces where there were several other people around. As reports have noted, the government also “sought to dismiss the case,” claiming “state secrets privilege” because Kareem “sought discovery on whether he had been targeted, the process the government used to target him, and whether the United States had attempted to kill him.” A federal judge sided with the government—agreeing that Kareem could not be told whether he was on the Kill List, and what the reason was.
This case is now being looked at as referendum on whether the US Government has the power to target and kill its own citizens—without judicial review—by claiming they are suspected terrorists, or in this case, not giving any reasons at all. This week, Kareem’s attorney made a powerful statement, in which she said, “Whether that’s in a parking lot in the United States or abroad in Syria, the government has claimed—for the first time ever in this case—that it has unfettered and unreviewable discretion to kill US citizens at will.”
If future appeals in this case are shot down, then it would set an incredibly troubling precedent for journalists and civilians alike